An international plan setting out a “road map” for Mideast peace will be handed to Palestinian and Israeli leaders Wednesday — just hours after a suicide bomber killed three people in Tel Aviv. The bombing came as a new phase in Palestinian government began. Abu Mazen, whose official name is Mahmoud Abbas, was sworn in Wednesday at Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah compound as the first Palestinian prime minister. The Israeli government said the suicide attack in Tel Aviv proved that the new Palestinian government had failed, even before Abu Mazen took office. “This is the first test of the new Palestinian government, and so far it is an utter failure,” said Israeli government spokesman Dore Gold. Diplomatic sources said an international plan for a Middle East peace process will be presented to both Israel and the Palestinians Wednesday afternoon. The document calls on the Palestinians and Israelis to take immediate steps to improve security and cooperation, and ultimately envisions a provisional Palestinian state by early 2004 and agreement on an independent permanent Palestinian state by the end of 2005. Full Story
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